Huge fire damages flea market in Liberty County


Vendors are trying to determine what they can salvage after the huge fire. For Gary Millican, the owner of Trading Place, the loss is devastating. The only thing worse, he says, was watching as it went up in flames.

From a firefighter's perspective there was little they could do to stop it, as the flames ate through the items stored there.

For Millican, it's tough to look through the rubble in the charred portion of the flea market.

"This used to be a jewelry store and it's just demolished," he said. "There's nothing there, it's just gone -- all the coins, all the jewelry, all the rings, all the watches."

But as rough as it is combing through the remains, Millican says it was even tougher early Monday morning when he showed up to find his beloved flea market, built only four years ago, being devoured by ferocious flames, that at times turned the place into a raging inferno.

"It was on fire, it was blazing like crazy," he said.

About 30 shops were destroyed, with some vendors only able to salvage a few things. The section that burned is about a third of the Trading Place market, which was built about four years ago as an upscale flea market.

"They work hard every weekend," Millican said. "It's devastating to those folks."

Some of the vendors arrived to the flea market after the four alarm fire with tears in their eyes.

"We'll have a good cry when it's over," one vendor said. "Just glad nobody was hurt, that's the main thing."

At times during the blaze, firefighters struggled with water supply. Fire officials say the owner reported electrical problems just days before the fire brought out. Still, it is under investigation.

The owner says he's ready to rebuild, bigger and better. He's also hoping to have the flea market open on Saturday morning.

Another sad note is that only one of the vendors is said to have had insurance on the contents.

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